Veterinary prices are obscene

Veterinary prices have risen at an alarming rate.

I'm old enough to have witnessed this seemingly overnight transition. Clients are charged for every move the vet makes -- expensive diagnostic procedures are encouraged, medications over-prescribed -- and still there is often no resolution to the problem.

Vets seem reluctant to commit to a diagnosis or will suggest many treatment plans. The result is only a small percentage of pet owners can afford to treat their animals, and much suffering results.

Again, its profits over people and animals, a disgrace to a profession that vows to "do no harm."

Wendy Brubaker

Richmond

Censorship is a form of tyranny

The letter from Nabil Rageh, chairman of Walnut Creek Islamic Center, thoughtfully expressed the sadness and remorse his community felt concerning recent acts of violence by Islamic extremists.

As a non-Muslim, I greatly appreciate Rageh's outspoken condemnation of these acts. However, I strongly disagree with his statement, "Nobody should have the right to deeply insult and ridicule the beliefs and faiths of others, while hiding behind freedom of speech."

Indeed, freedom of speech is only valuable if it applies to harsh and even offensive language, as well as nice language.

There have been many television shows and numerous letters printed in the Times mocking and ridiculing Christianity and other religions, which I found offensive. But I didn't feel they should be banned. I simply turned off the program or stopped reading the letter.

Muslims need to learn to do likewise if they wish to live peacefully in a pluralistic world. Censorship of speech is a form of tyranny and should only apply in the most extreme situations, not where the result of the speech is a sense of disrespected or hurt feelings.

Marlene Huffaker

Concord

Effort to silence Hercules resident

I was absolutely disgusted by the article that I read on the Times website titled: "Meaning of free speech open to debate in Hercules."

It appears, based on emails published by the Times, that Councilwoman Myrna de Vera and Dean Allison, an engineer from the city of Pinole, have worked in an official capacity to silence a Hercules resident from making political commentary.

If things are what they seem, Allison should be terminated and de Vera censured.

I've never met Kent Von Aspern, the victim of this most unethical attack. If I do meet him, as a dues-paying member of the First Amendment Coalition, I'll make sure to refer him to a good lawyer so he can sue Hercules and Pinole for violating his civil rights.

Chris Tallerico

Hercules

Grandkids the ones who will have to pay

Do you suppose some of those 47 percent might be folks on Social Security, who are doing OK right now, but are really worried about their grandchildren, who will end up paying 30 percent or more in federal income tax in the late 2020s just to cover the interest on the spending spree we've been on?

Accordingly, I don't see that 47 percent figure as guaranteed to vote for President Barack Obama.

When I first paid income tax in 1967, I realized about 5 percent was paying just the interest for the World War II Victory Bonds, and I was glad to contribute since I wasn't forced to learn Japanese as a second language.

And paying for the stimulus package that allowed only short-term rehiring of cops, firefighters and teachers, is mind-boggling. There's more, such as the $5 million for solar panels at Yosemite National Park's headquarters in El Portal, for an energy saving of $50,000 per year? That will take a century to break even!

Some 20 years ago, Ross Perot used the phrase " ... and send the bill to our grandchildren."

How prophetic!

Tom Gardner

Orinda